Kyrgyzstan: Ending U.S. Use of Manas Air Base

Kyrgyzstani President Kurmanbek Bakiyev on Feb. 3 said his government has decided to end U.S. use of the Manas air base outside Bishkek, The Associated Press reported, citing Russian media. Bakiyev reportedly made the statement minutes after Russia announced it was giving billions of dollars in aid to Kyrgyzstan. The news comes after U.S. Central Command chief David Petraeus said in January that Manas would be key to a U.S. plan to increase troop presence in Afghanistan.

Other possible routes to supply US troops in Afghanistan would begin in Turkey (a NATO member) and proceed into the Caucasus–specifically Georgia and Azerbaijan. From there, the route could either connect to Russia then Central Asia via rail lines or connect to Central Asia via barge across the Caspian Sea (bypassing Russia).

Armenia does not feature in either variation for a few reasons–it is pro-Russian, with the Russia’s holding a sizable military base in the country, and Armenia’s neighbors Turkey, Azerbaijan and parts of Georgia have closed the country’s borders, making transport nearly impossible.

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